Irish parish registers online for the first time

By Jon Bauckham, 9 July 2015 - 10:01am

Irish baptism and marriage records dating back to the 1740s can now be accessed on the web free of charge thanks to a major digitisation project

Irish parish registers website created by the National Library of Ireland in Dublin

The new Irish parish registers website allows researchers to browse the record images by county, parish and time period

More than a century of Irish Catholic parish records have been made available online.

The National Library of Ireland (NLI) in Dublin has uploaded 390,000 digital images of baptism and marriage registers to a new website, where they can be accessed free of charge.

Covering more than a thousand Catholic parishes, the scanned microfilm pages reveal details of people living across the entire island between the 1740s and 1880s.

While the material has not yet been transcribed, users can find individuals by selecting a county, parish and then browsing through the scans page-by-page.

Due to the destruction of crucial records during the Irish War of Independence, the registers are considered most important source for tracing ancestors in the country prior to the 1901 Census.

Although indexes to the registers have been created in the past, this is the first time the full records have been published on the web. As a result, researchers can consult the original handwritten entries and be more confident they are getting accurate information.

Speaking at the official launch of the registers in Dublin yesterday (Wednesday 8 July), Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny congratulated the NLI and suggested that the resource could help boost tourism.

“[The registers] will be of great value to experts in the areas of history and genealogy, but also of interest to people here in Ireland and the Irish diaspora across the world,” he said.

“No doubt the registers will contribute to the number of genealogical tourists in Ireland, as people of Irish descent access these records online and decide to visit their ancestral home place.”

To explore the records for free, click here

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